The EPA published a report linking waste-to-energy and other materials management practices such as recycling to a reduction in the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The September 2009 report, entitled
"Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices," highlights examples of how materials and land-management activities by the EPA, states, local governments and stakeholders have led to a significant reduction in GHG emissions. Examples include:
- Waste-to-energy recovery systems that combusted 31.4 million tons of MSW resulted in the avoidance of 17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent GHG emissions in 2006.
- Municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling in 2006 resulted in the avoidance of nearly 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent GHG emissions.
- EPA WasteWise partners reported source reduction and recycling activities which resulted in an avoidance of 27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent GHG emissions in 2005.
This latest EPA report confirms what numerous studies have shown over the years, namely that waste-to-energy reduces GHG emissions and that it is compatible with recycling. It is also one of the key factors why groups such as the World Economic Forum listed waste-to-energy as one of the Eight Emerging Large-Scale Clean Energy Sectors in its Davos Report.